Dental Hygiene for Men: Why You Can't Afford to Ignore Your Teeth
You have amazing teeth. You might not think about it every waking hour, but you do appreciate it in the morning when you look in the mirror. But, there are many ways for your tooth health to deteriorate – rapidly – even when you regularly get your teeth cleaned and brush twice a day. For example, did you know that good oral health starts with good overall health? Here's how to stay healthy and maintain that healthy smile.
If you smoke, stop. It's a nasty habit, and it also ruins your teeth. Even chewing tobacco puts you at a greater risk for gum disease and oral cancer. With the regular cigarette route of nicotine delivery, you get the added benefit of stained yellow teeth.
What's worse, men are affected twice as often as women when it comes to oral cancer. A full 95 percent of oral cancers occur after 40. Oral cancer can be incredibly aggressive too, with the most frequent cancer sites being the tongue, the floor of the mouth, the soft palate tissues, the lips and the gums.
If you don't get diagnosed early enough, it can lead to chronic pain and even death – yet death. About 8,000 people die every year from preventable oral and pharyngeal cancer simply because they refuse to stop using tobacco products.
Play It Safe When You Play Sports
If you play sports, make sure you're hooked up with a good dentistry, like New York Pediatric Dentistry. Not all dentists specialize in sports medicine or injuries. And, if you play sports, one of the risks you take on is the risk of trauma to the teeth – this is especially true if you engage in sports like football, soccer, and basketball. Whenever possible, wear a mouth-guard that's made from plastic that's also custom molded to your mouth. This will provide reasonable protection for your teeth.
The only source for vitamin D is the sun. Some animals absorb UVB from the sun and make vitamin D on the skin and in their muscle tissue, which we can then eat. But, all animals make it the same way. Sunshine is, by far, the most efficient way for humans to make it – as long as you're not sensitive to sunlight. All it takes is 15 to 20 minutes in direct sunlight when your shadow is shorter than you are tall. Usually, this means getting out in the sun during the summertime whenever you can.
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in oral health, regulating calcium and providing an anti-inflammatory component that helps stave off gum disease. Some research even suggests that vitamin D plays a role in the creation of natural antimicrobial agents in the mouth.
Examine Your Medications
Some medications inhibit salivary flow, like anti-depressants, heart medication, and blood pressure medication. This, in turn, could increase your risk for cavities. While there might not be much you can do about the medication you're taking, you can take measures to increase salivary activity in the mouth. For starters, try chewing more gum. Gum with xylitol as the sweetener will naturally draw moisture into the mouth, helping you to remineralize teeth over time and keep pathogenic bacteria at bay.
Author: Robert Ander is a veteran dental health researcher. He often blogs about common questions and problems to help people keep their mouths healthy.